The How? What? and Why? of Creating Your E-News
E-mail is a very inexpensive way to reach out to your customers, leads, and business alliances. Just like with your website, content is really the key here. Your email newsletter doesn’t have to be pretty (although it helps if it is) as long as the content is valuable, concise, and arrives with some regularity.
What could you include in an e-mail?
- Monthly or quarterly newsletter
- Sale or special announcement
- Birthday coupons
- Tip of the week or month
- Seasonal updates
- Rate changes (such as mortgage rates, etc)
- New product or feature announcement
- New staff announcement
- Other company accomplishments
What sources can you use to build an e-mail campaign?
www.MailChimp.com is a free email newsletter builder and contact manager for clients with fewer than 2000 subscribers and 12,000 e-mails per month, and after that it is a low monthly fee. They offer a number of pre-designed templates, easy setup, full delivery statistics, and pre-scheduling of campaigns. For a small monthly fee they offer advanced options such as A/B split testing and some marketing automation opportunities.
There are many other very reasonably priced email newsletter sources available which are easy to use. Constant Contact, icontact, and vertical response are among the most widely used.
Why should you use a service?
- It allows your list to be self-managing. If people wish to subscribe, add more preferences, or unsubscribe they can do so without your having to manually do anything. The list is automatically managed by the service.
- Most services allow for segmenting lists. You can group people by types of clients, leads, birthday month, or other criteria.
- You will know your actual results. You can see who opened your e-mail, when that person last interacted with it, and who shared the e-mail on social media or with a friend as well as where the share was directed.
- Your e-mail will experience very good deliverability. Most of these services perform very well in terms of making it to the inboxes of the people on your list. Always encourage your subscribers to watch for messages in the spam filter, add you to their address book, and to open your messages. The more they interact with your messages, the less likely they are to be routed to the spam filter.
- They provide a professional appearance with attractive and easy to use templates.
- E-mail distribution services offer the ability to pre-schedule a nearly unlimited number of campaigns.
Building Your List
So, you don’t have a list to work from? That’s OK. Get started anyway with routine communications and build your list over time. All of the e-mail services offer “opt in” landing pages or plug ins for nearly any type of websites (even the freebie versions). When people visit your site they can sign up right there with their e-mail address. Promote your opt-in in the signature of your e-mails. Utilize any communication method to encourage individuals to subscribe to your updates.
Resist the urge to build your list by spying for e-mail addresses. It is not good practice to gather e-mail addresses from public websites and include them in your list. Yes, you want to reach people who may be interested in what you have to say, but you do not want to be a spammer. Even if your first subscribers are yourself and your friends and family, that list will soon grow. Be patient and grow your list organically.
Once your list is in your e-mail service you should have to do very little to maintain it. Updating contacts if you learn of name changes or e-mail address changes can be done at any time, but the services themselves will alert you to “bounces” and unsubscribers. Bounces are when an e-mail ‘bounces back’ because the recipient’s e-mail account is full, no longer in operation, or experiencing some other error. Most mail services will automatically remove these outdated contacts over time.